In most U.S. cities, planning for growth often looks like luxury apartments and corporate incentives, with minimal consideration for how those developments will affect the people already living and working in the city. As a result, rising prices and loss of opportunities can push people out of their homes and, sometimes, out of the city all together.
When Seattle leaders were updating the city’s 2035 Comprehensive Plan—the plan that envisions and directs Seattle’s growth—in 2015, they decided to do something unique. The city’s required environmental impact statement was accompanied by a racial equity analysis—which leaders say is the first one performed by any major U.S. city. The analysis looked at population estimates, projected job growth, housing growth, and other factors, and mapped how the expected and proposed changes would affect existing Seattle neighborhoods.